Obama Administration Lowers Priority on Intelligence-Collection for China:
On January 20, 2010, the Washington Times reported:
The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing's military and its cyber-attacks.
The downgrading of intelligence gathering on China was challenged by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta after it was first proposed in interagency memorandums in October, current and former intelligence officials said.
The decision downgrades China from "Priority 1" status, alongside Iran and North Korea, to "Priority 2," which covers specific events such as the humanitarian crisis after the Haitian earthquake or tensions between India and Pakistan....
[A]dministration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new policy is part of the Obama administration's larger effort to develop a more cooperative relationship with Beijing....
Critics within the government ... said the change will mean that strategic intelligence on China — the gathering of data and analysis of information — will be reduced over time, undermining what officials said are urgently needed efforts to know more about China's political, economic, military and intelligence activities.
Officials said the lower intelligence priority for China is a subtle but significant change that will affect an array of intelligence activities.
Although the effect is not expected to be immediate, a change in priority number generally means that projects regarding that country are scrutinized more skeptically on budgetary and other grounds. Agencies likely will reduce spending for intelligence operations on China, whether carried out by spies or by photographic and electronic-intercept satellites.
Critics of the decision also fear that the lower priority will cause CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency operatives to take fewer risks in the field when spying on Chinese targets.
One new area that has been given a higher intelligence priority under the Obama administration is intelligence collection on climate change, a nontraditional mission marginally linked to national security. The CIA recently announced that it had set up a center to study the impact of climate change.
One U.S. official said the NSC intelligence policy change followed protests from China's government about the publication in September of the National Intelligence Strategy, produced by Mr. Blair's DNI office. The strategy report identified China as one of four main threats to U.S. interests, along with Russia, Iran and North Korea....
The Chinese government reacted harshly to the strategy report, both in public and in diplomatic channels, the official said.
A Chinese government spokesman in September stated that "we urge the United States to discard its Cold War mindset and prejudice, correct the mistakes in the [National Intelligence Strategy] report and stop publishing wrong opinions about China which may mislead the American people and undermine the mutual trust between China and the United States." ...
John Tkacik, a former State Department intelligence official, said the demotion of China to a second-tier priority reflects bias within the NSC staff.
"It means that the Obama administration doesn't understand the profound challenge that China has become or, even more disturbing, it cannot understand that China's challenges to America's policies are becoming even more threatening with each passing week," he said.
The intelligence downgrade was disclosed as civilian and military leaders were calling U.S. intelligence collection and analysis on China deficient.
Adm. Robert Willard, the new commander of U.S. Pacific Command, indirectly criticized U.S. intelligence estimates on China last fall, telling reporters in November that during the past decade "China has exceeded most of our intelligence estimates of their military capability and capacity every year. They've grown at an unprecedented rate in those capabilities."
Mr. Hoekstra said ... the shift sends the wrong signal to the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community that China is not important, he said in an interview. "That's a wrong analysis," Mr. Hoekstra said. "The current situation with China is that they are cheating on trade agreements, aggressively pursuing military capabilities and aggressively conducting cyber-attacks."
A military official also said recently that Army, Air Force and Navy intelligence components are just beginning to understand the growing need to focus more intelligence assets on the challenges posed by China's military buildup and aggressive intelligence activities.
Counterintelligence officials also were surprised at the decision to lower the intelligence priority on China, noting that China's espionage, technology theft and economic spying continue to dominate scarce resources, including people and funds.
Michelle Van Cleave, former national counterintelligence executive, also said the priority change was ill-advised and will hurt personnel, funding and intelligence assets devoted to Chinese targets.
"Chinese intelligence is going after us with a vengeance," she said, noting that the problem includes industrial espionage, technology diversion and stealing defense and other national security secrets, in addition to a global campaign of cyber-espionage.
"So why are they doing this?" she asked. "I am very troubled by how little U.S. intelligence really knows about the Chinese, in part because they have been so successful against us. Our national leadership should be pushing to close this intelligence gap, because if they dont, they will risk making serious miscalculations in dealing with China."
Obama criticizes Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of McCain-Feingold campaign-finance-reform rules:
On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court (in a 5-4 decision) overturmed this aspect ofMcCain-Feigold in a case called Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted with the majority, wrote: "If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech." The Court ruling overturned two precedents: Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 decision that upheld restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates, and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, a 2003 decision that upheld the portion of McCain-Feingold that restricted campaign spending by corporations and unions.
President Obama called the decision “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”
Obama Unveils New Proposals to Help a Middle Class that Is "Under Assault":
On January 25, 2010, Obama issued a public statement where he declared that America's middle class was "under assault," and he unveiled a series of plans designed to "re-establish some of the security that's slipped away." The initiatives, which would be included in Obama's budget for the fiscal year starting October 1, would require approval from Congress. They included the following:
nearly doubling the tax credit that families making under $85,000 can receive for child care costs, with some help for families earning up to $115,000;
capping the size of periodic federal college loan repayments at 10 percent of the borrowers' discretionary income, to make payments more affordable;
requiring employers who don't offer 401(k) retirement plans to offer direct-deposit IRAs for their employees, with exemptions for the smallest firms;
increasing by $1.6 billion the money pumped into a federal fund to help working parents pay for child care, covering an estimated 235,000 additional children; and
spending more than $100 million to help people care for their elderly parents and get support for themselves as well.
In summation, there was one increased tax credit; one revision of loan terms that had been previously negotiated in good faith by both parties; a new financial demand placed upon businesses; and two government programs that would pay out additional sums of taxpayer money to subsidize care for children and the elderly.
Obama Says He Is "Agnostic" on the Possibility of Raising Taxes on the Middle Class:
In February 2010, President Obama said he was now "agnostic" about raising taxes on households earning under $250,000 per year to help cut budget deficits, signaling a possible retreat from a campaign pledge. "The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table," Obama said. "So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions."
Obama Indicates He May Use Executive Orders to Bypass Congress in Enacting New Laws:
Also in February 2010, President Obama indicated that if the energy-related, environmental, and fiscal legislative agendas he wished to advance were to become stalled in the House and Senate, he was prepared to to circumvent Congress and sign his policies into law by means of executive orders. One area where the administration indicated that it planned to use its discretion, was in softening enforcement of the ban on open homosexuals serving in the military, whether or not legislators ultimately decided to repeal the ban.
“The challenges we had to address in 2009 ensured that the center of action would be in Congress,” said White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer. “In 2010, executive actions will also play a key role in advancing the agenda.”
Another tactic that Obama employed (successfully) in early February of 2010 was to pressure the Senate to confirm a number of his nominations -- by threatening to use his recess appointment power (i.e., his authority to appoint candidates while the Senate was in recess, thereby circumventing any opposition they might otherwise have encountered). In response to this threat, by February 13th the Senate swiftly confirmed 27 of the 63 Obama nominees in question.
Recess appointments have been used many times by U.S. presidents. During his two terms in office, for example, Bill Clinton made 139 recess appointments, 95 of them to full-time positions, while George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments, with 99 to full-time jobs. The individuals who are given such appointments can serve until the end of the next Congressional session. As a U.S. Senator, Obama had reacted harshly when President Bush used a recess appointment to install John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations; in response, Obama characterized Bolton as “damaged goods.”
Obama Administration Reprimands Israel:
In March 2010, reacting to an announcement by the Israeli Interior Ministry on plans to build 1,600 housing units for Jews in Jerusalem, Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Israel for a visit, reportedly told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”
Netanyahu apologized and, by the time Biden’s visit ended, apparently thought the matter had been handled. But soon thereafter, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Netanyahu and gave him a 45-minute harangue in which she told him, as State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley put it, that “the United States considered the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship,” that “this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests,” and that “she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security.”
Further harsh remarks came from Obama adviser David Axelrod, who called the announcement about the residential units for Jews an “affront” and an “insult” and said it “seemed calculated to undermine” indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks—this after Biden had accepted Netanyahu’s explanation that the announcement was bureaucratic happenstance.
Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren received “the same message of American disapproval and outrage” from Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg—it being clear by now that the anger was being “managed” from the top, that is, by President Obama himself. Ambassador Oren called the incident “the worst [for Israel] with the U.S. in 35 years.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial noted that the particular housing project in question "falls within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and can only be described as a ‘settlement’ in the maximalist terms defined by the Palestinians." Indeed, when in November 2009 Netanyahu had announced a ten-month construction freeze in the West Bank that did not include any part of Jerusalem, Mrs. Clinton praised the move as “unprecedented.” As theJournal concluded: “this episode does fit Mr. Obama’s foreign policy pattern to date: Our enemies get courted; our friends get the squeeze. It has happened to Poland, the Czech Republic, Honduras and Colombia. Now it’s Israel’s turn.”
Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman stated, “We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States.”
Netanyahu initially reacted by holding his ground, stating that “Construction in Jerusalem will continue in any part of the city as it has during the last 42 years…. In [that period], there was no [Israeli] government that limited construction in any Jerusalem area or neighborhood. Establishing Jewish neighborhoods did not hurt Jerusalem’s Arab residents and was not at their expense.”
Obama Signs Health Care Reform Bill into Law:
Throughout 2009 and into early 2010, the political process of pushing the health care reform legislation through Congress was led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The process was extraordinarily rancorous, and Obama used all his powers of persuasion to try to convince as many legislators (and as many American citizens) as possible to support the bill. In an interview conducted just a few days before the House of Representatives voted to pass the measure, Obama told an interviewer: "We're not transforming one-sixth of the economy in one fell swoop." Canada, he noted, "did not start off immediately with a single-payer system, they had a similar transition step."
Obama Lifts Ban on Oil Drilling off the Coast of Virginia, but Forbids Drilling Elsewhere:
On March 31, 2010, President Obama announced that he would open the door to oil drilling off Virginia's coast, in other parts of the mid- and south Atlantic, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and in waters off Alaska. At the same time, he declared off-limits the waters off the West Coast and in Alaska's Bristol Bay, canceled four scheduled lease sales in Alaska and called for more study before allowing new lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The Washington Post reported that “the White House's key audience -- undecided senators who will determine whether a [Cap and Trade] climate bill succeeds on Capitol Hill this year -- suggested that the move had helped revive the legislation's prospects.”
"[T]he plan is defined more by what it restricts than what it opens up. The Obama administration chose to take off the table large portions of the OCS [Outer Continential Shelf] in an announcement that was supposed to be about expanding American energy. The new plan includes:
No drilling in the Pacific Ocean.
No drilling in a large portion of the Atlantic Ocean.
No drilling in some of the most promising areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
No drilling in much of Alaska.
"While opening up any portion of the OCS for responsible energy development appears to be a great step forward, the truth is that none of this has been finalized, and most new drilling will not occur until after 2012 at the earliest.
"The offering also comes with a hefty price: President Obama wants to force Americans to swallow a massive new energy tax before any state will reap the benefits from this new offshore drilling. The bill Mr. Obama urged Congress to pass last summer, the Waxman-Markey [Cap and Trade] energy tax, would eviscerate the economy, killing more than one million jobs per year while raising the cost of energy for all Americans.
"If an energy tax passes Congress this year, the negative impact on the economy will happen long before the first oil comes from these new offshore leases.
"In addition, the multitude of steps to be taken before any of these lease sales are made after 2012 are still a work in progress. Each offshore tract that the administration proposes will no doubt fall victim to an array of court challenges and bureaucratic hangups, each of which will push back new offshore drilling even further.
"Instead of following the will of the people and moving forward immediately with offshore drilling, the President is asking us to trust him to proceed in the future, kicking the can of energy independence years down the road. Recall that during the 2008 campaign then-Senator Obama affirmed his support for offshore drilling, only to take office and implement a series of delays and roadblocks to responsible oil and gas development....
"By delaying offshore drilling for at least another two years, the President's decision does nothing to allow us to begin reaping those benefits. Mr. Obama's insistence on imposing a new tax on American energy also hamstrings any future job creation or new drilling revenues.
"When Congress voted in 2008 not to extend the ban on offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, they did not choose to keep a ban on Pacific waters, nor did they intend for a de facto ban to remain in effect in the OCS for at least another four years. What Congress did through legislative action, acting in accordance with the public will, the President has undone with the stroke of a pen."
EPA Announces Plans to Regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions for Cars and Light Trucks:
On the same day President Obama announced that he would lift a ban on oil drilling off the coast of Virginia, his administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moved ahead with its plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said her agency’s inaugural regulations on greenhouse gas emissions on cars were only “the first” of such regulations, promising that her agency would move “deliberately” to institute regulations in other areas of the economy as well.
Under the regulations, which were scheduled to begin in 2011, automakers would berequired to reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions steadily each year, beginning at 295 grams of carbon dioxide per mile and culminating in a cap of no more than 250 grams per mile by the 2016 model year. The plan would allow automakers to use a fleet-wide average, meaning that they could use reductions from smaller, more fuel-efficient cars to offset the higher greenhouse gas emissions from larger cars and trucks.
It was estimated believed that the imposition of these new regulations on automakers would cause the average price of a new vehicle to rise by more than $900.
Obama Announces Limitations on U.S. Use of Nuclear Weapons:
On April 6, 2010, President Obama announced that he would dramatically narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons, even for self-defense. He said an exception would be made for "outliers like Iran and North Korea" that have violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In a departure from the position taken by previous presidents, Obama said that the U.S. would explicitly commit for the first time to not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that adhere to the nuclear treaty, even if they attack with biological or chemical weapons.
Obama said this new policy would renounce the development of any new nuclear weapons, and was designed to set an example for moving the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete.
Three days after this announcement, Obama was scheduled to sign a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with President Medvedev of Russia. Obama said he hoped to use that treaty as a stepping stone toward more ambitious reductions in nuclear arsenals. “We are going to pursue opportunities for further reductions in our nuclear posture, working in tandem with Russia but also working in tandem with Nato as a whole," he said.
Michelle Obama Says the President's "Home Country" is Kenya, and States that He Has Always Sought to "Narrow the Gaps":
In April 2010, a video surfaced of Michelle Obama stating, during a speech: "When we took our trip to Africa and visited his home country in Kenya, we took a public HIV test, for the very point of showing folks in Kenya that there is nothing to be embarrassed about in getting test."
In the same speech, Mrs. Obama said: "He [Barack Obama] has spent his entire life trying to build a career based on that struggle to narrow the gaps. And wherever he has a chance, he uses his God-given talents to move that bar. That's what he did all those years ago, working in churches helping families build better lives. And its what he did when he turned down a big law firm to become a civil rights attorney all those years ago...."
Obama Advisors Hint That Tax Hikes May Be Necessary:
At a New York Historical Society event on April 6, 2010, Paul Volcker, chairman of President Obama's newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board, stated that the United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax. He said that the implementation of a Value-Added Tax "was not as toxic an idea" as it has been in the past, and also said that a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary. "If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes," he said.
The next day, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that Americans might have to accept higher taxes or changes in entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security if the nation was to have any chance of avoiding the immense budget deficits that threatened to kill economic growth. "These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off -- until the day they cannot be put off anymore," Bernanke said in a speech. "But unless we as a nation demonstrate a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility, in the longer run we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth."
Obama Signs Nuclear-Reduction Deal with Russia:
On April 8, 2010 in Prague, President Obama signed the New START bilateral arms control agreement with Russia. Phyllis Schlafley wrote the following about this deal and its implcations:
"It reads like it was written by the Russians and has nothing good in it for the United States. Obama is demanding a rush to ratification, after which we can then discover the details of what the treaty requires....
"If there ever were a need for the Senate to read the bill and for the Senate to use its 'advice' power as well as its 'consent' power, this is it, including reading the treaty's protocols and annexes. Harry Reid's Senate promptly held one hearing, but heard only from treaty advocates, not from its critics.
"In the globalist world that Obama inhabits, he dreams of a nuclear-zero world. But his 'world without nuclear weapons' would be a world where the United States is a sitting duck for nukes fired by a rogue nation.
"The treaty allows Russia to build new and modern weapons to reach New START limits, whereas the United States is locked into reducing its current number. That means Russia will have new and tested weapons, but the U.S. will be stuck with its current, out-of-date, untested warheads....
"The fantasy that our abandonment of nuclear weapons will inspire other nations to follow our example is so foolish that it can only be described as nuts. When the Cold War thawed and the U.S. and the old U.S.S.R. dramatically reduced their nuclear warheads, that encouraged proliferation -- with India, Pakistan, North Korea, Syria and Iran trying to join the nuclear club.
"New START allows the United States to have only as many nuclear warheads as Russia can afford to build. And Russia gets to set the count of weapons.
"Equal ceilings on warheads are ridiculous because, while Russia only has to defend its own people, our allies all over the world count on us for protection. If the treaty prohibits us from having weapons to fulfill those expectations, they will try to build their own.
"The treaty does not limit tactical nuclear weapons, leaving Russia with a 10-to-one numeric superiority, which Russia has threatened to use in regional conflicts. We could build more tactical missiles, but there is no chance Obama will do that.
"New START gives up the verification, on-site inspections and monitoring of production that were requirements of previous treaties....
"Obama has made it clear that his eagerness for a nuclear-zero world also means a world without any defense against nuclear weapons. He has cut spending for missile defenses and killed or mothballed the few innovative programs we have to knock down incoming rockets in their boost phase.
"Ever since President Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983, the Kremlin has tried to ban all U.S. missile defenses. The Kremlin brags that it achieved this goal in New START.
"This treaty gives Russia a veto over all U.S. defenses against incoming missiles. Article V contains a binding clause that we 'shall not convert and shall not use ICBM launchers and (submarine-launched ballistic missile) launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein.'
"Article XIV confirms this prohibition, stating that any party can withdraw from New START if 'extraordinary events ... have jeopardized its supreme interests.' Russia explained that this means it will stick with New START 'only if the (U.S.) refrains from developing its missile defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.'"
Obama Directs Federal Agencies to Take Bids only from Union Contractors:
In April 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13502, which directed federal agencies taking bids for federal government construction projects (of $25 million or more) to accept only bids from contractors who accept, in advance, a project labor agreement that requires a union work force. But only about 15 percent of all construction-industry workers in the United States are union members, while the remaining 85 percent are non-union. As The Washington Examinernotes:
"By eliminating the vast majority of potential bidders on federal construction projects, Obama guarantees two things. First, the projects will cost taxpayers more because union labor is always more expensive. And with mandated PLAs [project labor agreements], the cost premium for union contractors will be even greater because fewer bidders always means less competition and higher prices. Second, by guaranteeing unions a bigger stream of federal contracts, Obama is making sure that Big Labor, already among the Democrats' biggest sources of campaign cash, will have even more money to hand out for the 2010 and 2012 elections. You scratch our back with taxpayers dollars gleaned through PLA-based federal construction jobs, and we'll scratch your back with campaign contributions....
"Another factor helps explain Obama's willingness to sign an executive order that will put millions more tax dollars in union coffers. Mix points out that unions under PLAs typically exact agreements that include requiring contractors to make payments to union pension funds. This is an increasingly urgent issue, as the Washington Examiner's Mark Hemingway has recently detailed in these pages. According to Labor Department filings, the average union pension has only enough money on hand to cover 62 percent of the benefits it has promised to union members. Pension plans with 80 percent funding are considered 'endangered' by federal auditors, while those with less than 65 percent funding are put on the 'critical' list. With this latest executive order, it's clear that Obama intends to give unions on the critical list a massive dose of federal tax dollars to cure what ails them."
Obama Extends Unemployment Benefits:
On April 15, 2010, Congress passed an $18 billion bill to restore unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, and President Obama signed the measure into law a few hours later. Designed for people whose 26 weeks of state-paid unemployment benefits had been exhausted, the new measure guaranteed up to 99 additional weekly unemployment checks averaging $335 apiece.
The BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil-Spill Disaster:
On April 20, 2010, the disastrous BP/Deepwater Horizon oil leak began to spew thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico on a daily basis. In a report which he issued on May 27, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recommended a six-month moratorium on all deepwater drilling—notwithstanding the fact that five out of seven consulting engineers stated that such drilling had a strong safety record, and that targeted inspections would be more sensible than a blanket moratorium.
In June 2010, federal judge Martin Feldman of Louisiana ordered Salazar and the Obama administration to to lift their “arbitrary and capricious, and therefore, unlawful” ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf. The following month, when a U.S. Court of Appeals denied the administration's bid to put a hold on Feldman's order, the Interior Secretary promptly concocted a second, “revised” moratorium to replace the one Feldman had nullified. Though Salazar officially “lifted” this second ban three months thereafter, he would issue no additional permits that year. Rather, in 2010 he actually rescinded 77 oil-lease contracts that had previously been granted—after seven full years of rigorous study and debate—during the final days of the Bush administration. Federal courts repeatedly scolded Salazar and the Obama administration for their “determined disregard” of judicial orders and their “increasingly inexcusable” action on stalled deepwater drilling projects, to no effect.
In February 2011, Judge Feldman—complaining that the Obama administration’s “time delays at issue here are unreasonable”—ordered Salazar and the President to decide within a month whether they would grant a set of five permits for deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama and Salazar chose not to comply for several weeks, and instead issued yet another request to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of Feldman's order. Finally, in March 2011 Salazar gave the Shell Offshore Company permission to apply for drilling permits for three new exploratory wells off the Louisiana coast.
Obama Calls for Support from "African Americans, Latinos, and Women"
In late April 2010, President Obama narrated an ad calling on American voters to support Democrats in the upcoming November midterm elections. Said Obama in the ad:
"We are moving America forward one step at a time. But despite everything we've done, our work isn't finished. Today the health insurance companies, the Wall Street banks and the special interests who have ruled Washington for too long have already focused on November's congressional elections. They see these elections as a chance to put their allies back in power and to undo all that we've accomplished. So this year I need your help once more.
"A few months ago we asked you to help us set our priorities for 2010 and tell us how you thought we could win elections at all levels of government. You told us your first priority was to make sure the same people who were inspired to vote for the first time in 2008 go back to the polls in 2010. So that's what we're gonna do....
"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African Americans, Latinos and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again."
Obama Criticizes Arizona Immigration Law
On April 23, 2010, Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law a bill deputizing state police to check with federal authorities on the immigration status of any individuals whom they have stopped for some legitimate reason, if the behavior or circumstances of those individuals leads the officers to suspect that they might be in the United States illegally. The heart of the law was this provision:
"For any lawful contact [i.e., instances where an officer questions or detains someone who has violated some law, usually a traffic infraction] made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency … where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person."
In essence, the Arizona law simply made it a crime for anyone to be in the United States illegally; i.e., it enforced the national law. To prevent abuse or racial discrimination, the Arizona statute included provisions banning racial profiling. It also required residents to carry ID or immigration-registration documents at all times. But that was no departure from existing law. Since the 1940s, federal law has required non-citizens who are permanent residents of the United States to carry with them, at all times, the official documents -- green card, work visa, etc. -- proving that they are in the U.S. legally.
President Obama, complaining that the "misguided" law was an example of legislative "irresponsibility" that would “undermine basic notions of fairness,” ordered the Justice Department to find some way to challenge its standing.
At an April 27, 2010 Iowa town hall meeting, Obama warned that the new legislation could lead to racial profiling. He said:
“You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona — your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed. That’s something that could potentially happen. That’s not the right way to go.”
On April 29, 2010, The Los Angeles Times reported the following:
"A team of top government lawyers has quietly begun studying legal strategies for the Obama administration to mount a challenge to Arizona's new illegal immigration law, including the filing of a federal lawsuit against the state or joining a suit brought by others who believe the bill unfairly targets Latinos.
"President Obama and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. have denounced the law, leading to expectations that the administration will take action soon. Obama said Wednesday that the law, which allows police to demand proof of citizenship, threatens the 'core values that we all care about.'"
On June 17, 2010, the Obama administration announced that it intended to sue the state of Arizona over the law.
Obama Says, "At Some Point, You've Made Enough Money"
On April 28, 2010, President Obama was in Illinois making a speech about a proposed Wall Street reform bill. In the course of his address, he criticized Wall Street lobbyists for trying to dilute the bill's most stringent provisions, saying:
"We're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean,I do think at a certain point you've made enough money, but you know, part of the American way is, you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or you're providing a good service.”
Van Jones Likens Obama's Politics to that of the New Party and the Working Families Party, Two Socialist Entities
"You look at the New Party, which is now the Working Families Party, the idea of a new politics -- that you could actually in this country bring together labor and civil rights and feminists, etc., and actually make a difference ... is the basic framework for what just took over the White House."
Obama Criticizes Arizona Immigration Law During White House Meeting with Mexican President
On May 19, 2010, Obama welcomed Mexican President Felipe Calderon in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. After Obama had welcomed him, Calderon seized the opportunity to blast controversial immigration law that had been recently passed in Arizona. Calderon said the law "is forcing our people to face discrimination." He called for the creation of "a safer border — a border that will unite us instead of dividing us." Obama, during his own welcoming remarks to Calderon, called the Arizona law a "misdirected expression of frustration over our broken immigration system." He added:
"Finally, Mr. President, your visit speaks to a truth of our time in North America and the world: In the 21st century we are defined not by our borders but by our bonds. So I say to you and to the Mexican people: Let us stand together. Let us face the future together. Let us work together. Trabajemos juntos."
Report that the Obama White House Offered Rep. Joe Sestak a Job As an Inducement not to Run for Senate
In April 2009, longtime Republican Arlen Specter -- at the urging of Barack Obama -- had switched parties, a move that gave the Democrats a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which was crucial to the passage of health care reform. In return for the party switch, Obama promised Specter that he would endorse him for reelection the following year, and that Specter would face no opposition in the 2010 Democrat primary. But Democrat Congressman Joe Sestak had already announced that he planned to run for that Senate seat, and he refused to drop out of the race in deference to Sestak.
In a February 2010 interview with the Philadelphia Enquirer, Sestak was asked whether there was any truth to rumors that the Obama White House had offered him a job with the administration as an enticement to drop out of the primary race against Specter. Sestak told the interviewer that the Obama White House had called him "many times" about the matter. When asked if the job offer was for the position of Secretary of the Navy, Sestak said: "No comment." He also declared that he had turned down the offer, and that he was committed to running for the Senate.
After Sestak defeated Specter in the Democratic Senate primary in May 2010, the victor was asked to elaborate on who had approached him from the White House with a job offer, and what exactly had been offered, but he refused to provide any details. At a May 27, 2010 press conference, Obama was asked about the Sestak matter. He replied: "There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue. You will get it from my administration, so, and it will be coming out, when I say shortly I mean shortly, I don't mean weeks or months … I can assure the public that nothing improper took pace, but as I said, there will be a response shortly on that issue."
Soon thereafter, White House counsel Bob Bauer reported that during the period of June and July 2009, Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had called on his old employer, Bill Clinton, to approach Sestak and offer him a non-paid position on a presidential panel. Bauer also said that because Clinton had spoken with the congressman, no White House staff were technically involved in the offer.
But as Peter Ferrara pointed out in the American Spectator, "that story is not plausible because as a sitting member of Congress he [Sestak] could not have legally served on such a Presidential Board."
Dick Morris, a former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, said: “Joe Sestak is either lying or the White House committed a crime.” Morris added that if the job offer was high enough that it also had Obama's apppoval, "that is a high crime and misdemeanor." When asked if it was “an impeachable offense,” Morris replied: “Absolutely.”
Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (UT), Chuck Grassley (IA), Jeff Sessions (AL), Jon Kyl (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), John Cornyn (TX), and Tom Coburn (OK) jointly asked the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate that matter. "Such an offer [as described by Sestak] would appear to violate various federal criminal laws," the senators told Attorney General Eric Holder. But Holder refused to appoint a special prosecutor.
Obama Follows Recommendations of the Center For American Progress, Regarding the BP Oil-Spill Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico:
The Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) may well have more influence on the Obama presidency than any other organization in existence. This left-wing think tank formulates policy for the administration and supplies the White House with a steady stream of talking points designed to make that policy palatable to the public. In fact, as of December 2008, before then-President-elect Obama had even taken his oath of office, he had already pledged his intent to fulfill some of CAP's chief policy recommendations. These included the Center's call for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq coupled with a buildup of forces in Afghanistan, a plan to implement universal health coverage, and a plan to create “green jobs” designed to combat “global warming.” According to Bloomberg.com, CAP “has become ... an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the ... Obama administration.”
Emblematic of this was the synergy that Obama and CAP displayed in dealing with the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010. In May and June of that year, when the crisis was at its height, Obama took his cue from the Center on a number of important occasions. For example:
On May 4, CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, advised Obama to create an independent commission to examine the causes of the crisis; eighteen days later, the President did exactly that.
On May 21, CAP president John Podesta privately exhorted White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the oil-spill response. A week later, the Obama administration announced that Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen would fill that role.
On May 26, Daniel Weiss advised the White House to demand that BP immediately set up a multi-billion-dollar escrow account to pay damage claims to Gulf-state residents harmed by the spill. Some three weeks later, Obama issued precisely that demand.
Obama Imposes Moratorium on Deep-Water Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico:
On May 27, 2010 -- as the BP oil-leak in the Gulf continued unabated -- President Obama said that he was extending a moratorium on deep-water oil drilling in the Gulf. The action called for suspension of 33 exploratory drilling operations in the Gulf, as well as the cancellation or temporary suspension of pending lease sales and oil drilling in Virginia and the Arctic. The moratorium for the Gulf would be lifted in October 2010.
Obama White House Tried to Convince Candidate Andrew Romanoff Not to Run for Senate; Used Job Offers As Inducements:
"Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff confirmed Wednesday that Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff, suggested three administration jobs that would be available to him last September if he dropped his plans to run against U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who had the support of the White House.
"Romanoff said he informed the White House that he would stay in the race. The revelation comes days after the White House confirmed that Rep. Joe Sestak was approached about an unpaid position in the administration if he dropped his campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter. But in this case, Romanoff was offered paid positions in the administration, a clear difference from the Sestak case.
"In a statement to the media, Romanoff attached an email from Messina – dated Sept. 11, 2009 – listing the three jobs, two at USAID and one as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, with a page-long set of job descriptions.
"Earlier, the White House had confirmed that administration officials had 'conversations' last year with Romanoff about possible positions inside the administration. But the White House didn’t confirm which jobs were involved, or that Messina was the emissary to Romanoff.
"Romanoff’s email said that in September 2009, shortly after the news media first reported his plans to run for the Senate, he received a call from Messina. 'Mr. Messina informed me that the White House would support Sen. Bennet. I informed Mr. Messina that I had made my decision to run,' the statement said.
"'Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race. He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions. At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina’s assistance in obtaining one,' Romanoff said.
"Later that day, Romanoff said he received an email from Mr. Messina containing descriptions of three positions. 'I later left him a voicemail informing him that I would not change course,' Romanoff said. 'I have not spoken with Mr. Messina, nor have I discussed this matter with anyone else in the White House, since then.'"
Obama Administration's Response to Israel's Interception of Pro-Palestinian Flotilla Headed for Gaza
In early 2010, a Turkish organization known as IHH -- which has known ties to Hamas, al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood -- collaborated with the Free Gaza Movement to organize a six-ship flotilla of Muslim and anti-Israel activists who would sail (from various points in Greece, Crete, Ireland, and Turkey) to Gaza for the purpose of breaking Israel's naval blockade (which had been established to prevent Hamas from importing weaponry from Iran and other allies abroad).
IHH owned and operated the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla's lead ship. On April 7, 2010, IHH leader Bülent Yildirim had told a press conference in Istanbul that the forthcoming flotilla would represent a “test” for Israel. He warned that Israeli opposition to the initiative would be viewed as “a declaration of war” against the countries whose activists were aboard the ships.
The flotilla embarked on its journey toward Gaza in late May of 2010. For several days, Israel issued warnings that the ships would not be permitted to reach Gaza without first submitting to an inspection of their cargoes. But the crews of the vessels refused to comply; thus Israeli commandos intercepted the flotilla in the early morning hours of May 31. The IHH-affiliated activists responded violently, attacking the commandos with knives, clubs and pistol fire. In the melee that ensued, nine activists were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded.
MSNBC reported the Obama administration's response:
"The Obama administration believes Israel's blockade of Gaza is untenable and wants to see a new approach that would allow more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area while guaranteeing Israel's security, The New York Times reported Thursday....
"White House officials said that the [Israeli] raid gave strength to a growing consensus within the administration that U.S. and Israeli policy toward Gaza must change, the Times said.
“'There is no question that we need a new approach to Gaza,' one official told the newspaper, which said he spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy shift was still in the early stages.
"However, the paper said he was reflecting a broadly held view in the upper reaches of the administration....
"In a separate statement, White House officials said they had warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to use 'caution and restraint' before the raid on the aid convoy....
"Obama administration officials made it clear to the newspaper that the deaths Monday had given a new urgency to changing the policy toward the narrow strip of sand dunes and refugee camps that are home to 1.5 million people.... Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that the administration is trying to sway the Israeli government on the issue of Gaza. He agreed that Israel had a right to inspect the cargo ... [but said], 'We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them [the Palestinians] to get building materials' and other designated humanitarian aid into Gaza, he added."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported a Security Council statement condemningthe "acts" that cost the lives of the pro-Palestinian activists off the Gaza coast. But U.S. officials did not formally blame Israel or the Free Gaza activists for the bloodshed. In remarks to reporters at the State Department, Clinton called on Israel to allow greater access for humanitarian relief supplies, "including reconstruction and building supplies." She added that the situation in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas and under an Israeli blockade, is "unsustainable and unacceptable."
On June 11, 2010, it was reported that senior Obama administration officials were telling foreign governments that the administration -- in a move unprecedented in U.S.-Israeli relations -- intended to support an effort to set up an independent commission, under United Nations auspices, to investigate Israel's behavior in the Gaza flotilla incident. UN Ambassador Susan Rice was reported to have played an important role in pushing the U.S. to support the UN investigation. The Obama administration denied the reports that it would support such an investigation.
$400 Million in Aid for Palestinians:
On June 9, 2010, President Obama offered to send $400 million for “humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians in the West Bank (which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority) and the Gaza Strip (an area controlled by the terrorist organization Hamas). In remarks made as he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama urged Israel to put a stop to its settlement activity and called on the Palestinians to avoid inciting further confrontation. He also called on Israel to reassess its blockade on the Gaza Strip, while conceding that "[t]here should be means by which we will be able to stop flow of arms that endanger Israel’s security." Added Obama: "If we can get a new conceptual framework, we should be able to take what is a tragedy [the recent flotilla incident] and create an opportunity so the lives of people of Gaza are improved. But in the long run, the way to solve this problem is creation of the Palestinian state and ensuring Israel’s security."
Obama Makes Reference to Soviets' "Great Patriotic War:
On June 24, 2010, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House. In his remarks, Obama said the following:
“Finally, I would simply add that the new partnership between our people spans the spectrum, from space to science to sports. I think, President [Medvedev], you're aware that recently I welcomed to the White House a group of young Russian basketball players — both boys and girls — who were visiting the United States. We went on the White House basketball court, and I have to admit some of them out-shot me. They represented the hope for the future that brings our countries together. Those were the same hopes of another generation of Americans and Russians -- the generation that stood together as allies in the Second World War — the Great Patriotic War in which the Russian people suffered and sacrificed so much. We recently marked the 65th anniversary of our shared victory in that war, including that historic moment when American and Soviet troops came together in friendship at the Elbe River in Germany.”
The term “Great Patriotic War” – which is not generally used outside the former Soviet Union – refers to the portion of World War II (from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945) when the USSR fought against Nazi Germany and its allies in the Eastern Front. The term first appeared in the Soviet newspaper Pravda, and was coined shortly after Germany had suddenly and unexpectedly attacked the Soviets on June 22, 1941, in violation of the German-Soviet nonaggression pact. The term was intended to motivate the Russian population to defend the Soviet motherland and to expel the German invaders.
Blagojevich Trial Reveals an Apparent Obama Lie Regarding Obama's Effort to Pick a Successor for His Senate Seat in 2008:
In late June 2010, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich faced trial for charges that after Barack Obama had been elected President in November 2008, Blagojevich -- who had the authority to appoint a successor to fill Obama's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat -- sought to either sell that seat or to exchange it for some type of political favor. Obama had always maintained that he had had no contact with Blagojevich about the matter; that he had never tried to influence the governor's decision regarding whom he would appoint to fill the seat; and that he “was not aware of what was happening.”
But during the Blagojevich trial, local union leader Tom Balanoff testified that Obama had called him the day before the 2008 election, and had asked him to tell Blagojevich that his (Obama's) top choice for that Senate seat was Valerie Jarrett. In his testimony, Balanoff quoted Obama as having said that Jarrett should be a United States senator, that she met the necessary criteria. Balanoff further testified that he told the soon-to-be President: "Thank you, I’m going to reach out to Governor Blagojevich with that."
General Electric's Chief Executive Criticizes Obama's Policies Regarding Business
On July 1, 2010, the Financial Timesreported that General Electric Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, speaking in Rome at a dinner meeting of GE executives and Italian business leaders, expressed some harsh opinions about President Obama. Immelt lamented what he called a “terrible” national mood in th U.S., and he expressed concern that over-regulation in response to the global financial crisis would dampen an already “tepid” U.S. economic recovery. According to the Times: “Business did not like the US president, and the president did not like business, [Immelt] said, making a point of praising Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, for her defence of German industry.”
Evidence that Obama Justice Department Refuses to Prosecute Civil Rights Cases with Black Offenders and White Victims:
On Election Day, November 4, 2008, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) was involved in a controversial incident that was videotaped and posted on YouTube. Outside an open polling station in Philadelphia, Jerry Jackson (an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee and an official Democratic Party polling observer) and Minister King Samir Shabazz (Chairman of the NBPP’s Philadelphia chapter) intimidated white voters with racial slurs and threats of violence. “You are about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker!” and “White Devils” are some of the slurs they yelled at voters. Shabazz, who brandished a police-style nightstick, was eventually led away by police.
On January 7, 2009, the Justice Department under President Bush filed criminal charges against Jackson, Minister Shabazz, and NBPP Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz for violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The failure of all three men to appear in court ledto an order by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell to seek judgments or sanctions against the three Panthers. By May 5, 2009, the Justice Department was still considering the case, but by the middle of the month, the Department filed a notice of voluntary dismissal. It did ask for a default judgment against King Samir Shabazz however, butlimited the punishment to an order that he not exhibit a “weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the city of Philadelphia” until Nov. 15, 2012.
In June 2010, J. Christian Adams, who had served in the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice for 5 years, resigned over the “corrupt nature of the dismissal of the case.” Adams was one of the five lawyers who commenced the case and urged continuing it to the end, but was overruled by Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, an Obama appointee, and later by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.Wrote Adams in 2010:
"The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney....
"The assistant attorney general for civil rights, Tom Perez, has testified repeatedly that the 'facts and law' did not support this case. That claim is false. If the actions in Philadelphia do not constitute voter intimidation, it is hard to imagine what would, short of an actual outbreak of violence at the polls. Let's all hope this administration has not invited that outcome through the corrupt dismissal.
"Most corrupt of all, the lawyers who ordered the dismissal -- Loretta King, the Obama-appointed acting head of the Civil Rights Division, and Steve Rosenbaum -- did not even read the internal Justice Department memorandums supporting the case and investigation....
"Some have called the actions in Philadelphia an isolated incident, not worthy of federal attention. To the contrary, the Black Panthers in October 2008 announced a nationwide deployment for the election.
"We had indications that polling-place thugs were deployed elsewhere, not only in November 2008, but also during the Democratic primaries, where they targeted white Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters. In any event, the law clearly prohibits even isolated incidents of voter intimidation.
"Others have falsely claimed that no voters were affected. Not only did the evidence rebut this claim, but the law does not require a successful effort to intimidate; it punishes even the attempt.
"Most disturbing, the dismissal is part of a creeping lawlessness infusing our government institutions. Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases."
In July 2010, Adams gave damning public testimony about how Obama officials believe "civil rights law should not be enforced in a race-neutral manner, and should never be enforced against blacks or other national minorities."
In flagrant violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, the Department of Justice now practices racial discrimination in enforcing, and in choosing not to enforce, the federal civil rights statutes. These laws, enacted to safeguard our basic liberties, are not invoked when the victims are white and the lawbreakers are black. The most brazen example of this noxious policy—but far from the only one—is the Department of Justice’s astounding decision to drop a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party even though Justice had already won the case.
The jackbooted Panthers, arrayed in paramilitary garb, one wielding a billy-club, had been videotaped menacing voters and poll-watchers at a busy polling station in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008. “You’re about to be ruled by the black man, cracker,” they brayed, under the leadership of King Shamir Shabazz, renowned in the local black community for such serenades as “You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You’re gonna have to kill some of their babies.” Another of the threatening Panthers that day turned out to be an accredited Democratic Party poll-watcher.
The case, brought by the Bush Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, was a slam-dunk. Bartle Bull, a legendary civil rights champion and longtime Democrat, witnessed the goings-on and later filed an affidavit saying they “qualified as the most blatant form of voter intimidation I have encountered in my life in political campaigns in many states, even going back to the work I did in Mississippi in the 1960s.” J. Christian Adams, the veteran Department of Justice attorney who filed the case, described it as “the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career.” The Panthers did not even bother to answer the suit; they defaulted.
But then Obama’s political appointees took the helm. While declining even to read the memorandum prepared by the team of career Department of Justice lawyers to justify the case, Holder’s minions held meetings with left-wing activists like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Though the civil rights laws are written in a racially neutral manner, literally protecting all Americans, it is leftist dogma that they exist as the scarlet letter of American slavery and racism: They must never be used against blacks, no matter how egregious the conduct in question. With a federal judge poised to enter judgment in favor of the United States, the political appointees directed the career prosecutors to deep-six the case.
The dismissal provoked public uproar, but Justice has stonewalled inquiries by congressional Republicans and an investigation by the Civil Rights Commission. Nevertheless, Adams eventually resigned in defiance of orders from Department of Justice superiors that he not comply with Commission subpoenas. So did his direct supervisor, Christopher Coates, who was transferred to South Carolina (i.e., outside the Commission’s subpoena reach) to try to block his testimony.
Refuting the peremptory denial by Thomas Perez, Obama’s Civil Rights chief, that racial considerations guide Department of Justice prosecutions, Adams and Coates described a deeply ingrained culture of hostility in the Civil Rights Division—one predating the Obama administration—to racially neutral enforcement of voting laws. There had been, in fact, a mini-mutiny in 2003, when Bush Department of Justice appointees overrode the Division’s resistance against defending white voters in Mississippi, who’d been disenfranchised by the shenanigans of Ike Brown, the local Democratic Executive Committee boss.
Under Obama, the mutineers are now running the ship. They complained bitterly that the Ike Brown case had strained their cherished relationship with left-wing civil rights organizations (yes, redundant again). These groups are a revolving door for progressive lawyers desirous of burnishing their credentials with a stint at Justice. As a recent Pajamas Media investigation has shown, the Obama administration recruits from the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the American Constitution Society, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, La Raza, the SEIU’s “Civic Participation Project,” and similar radical redoubts. The Civil Rights Division has thus staffed up with lawyers who have spent years opposing voter identification laws, challenging the rights of states to verify that voters are American citizens, seeking to overturn state laws that disenfranchise convicted felons, advancing the gay rights agenda, lobbying for Big Labor’s goals of organizing graduate students, and ending the secret ballot in unionization votes. There is even a recruit from the “Intersex Society of North America,” a Clinton Department of Justice veteran who returned to the Civil Rights Division having worked for “systemic change to end shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for people born with an anatomy that someone decided is not standard for male or female” (I kid you not).
The Holder adjutant at the center of the Panthers dismissal was Loretta King, a fierce advocate of racial quotas, despite their constitutional invalidity. Before being promoted by President Obama, King’s best known work was a frivolous civil rights complaint, in which she and other Department of Justice lawyers, as the Supreme Court later recounted, “commanded” the state of Georgia to engage in “presumptively unconstitutional race-based districting.” Their ploy ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $600,000 in legal fees, awarded by the lower court to compensate the state they’d harassed, with the judge finding especially “disturbing” the “considerable influence of ACLU advocacy” on Department of Justice’s voting rights decisions.
After she was named Obama’s acting assistant AG for Civil Rights, King took offense at Coates’s practice of quizzing job applicants on whether they would be willing to enforce the Voting Rights Act in a race-neutral manner. King directed him to stop asking the question.
Meanwhile, ignoring the Supreme Court’s 2009 ruling in the New Haven firefighters case that promotion test results cannot be invalidated for the purpose of imposing racial quotas, King has filed suits attempting to coerce New York into disregarding low test scores (i.e., to hire her preferred quotient of minority firefighters), and to compel the police department in Dayton, Ohio, into accepting F as a passing grade (the Department of Justice contends too many black applicants fail the test). King has also sued Kinston, North Carolina, a tiny, overwhelmingly black and Democratic city, for attempting to institute “non-partisan elections” (that is, there are no party affiliations listed on ballots). By the Department of Justice’s lights, this could result in Republicans being elected and blacks thus being denied their “candidates of choice.”
Another top Obama appointee, Julie Fernandez (named Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights), instructed Coates, Adams, and other line attorneys that the Obama administration was only interested in bringing voting rights cases that “would provide political equality for racial and language minority voters.” She also emphasized that the Obama administration would not be enforcing Section 8, an anti-fraud provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires states to maintain their voter rolls diligently and purge them of ineligible persons—generally, those who have moved out of state or died.
The Bush Justice Department had brought a number of Section 8 cases despite their intense unpopularity with civil rights activists, who are far more concerned about empowering aliens than ensuring that the votes of citizens are not diluted by the casting of unqualified ballots. Not content with refraining from enforcement, the Obama Justice Department has also quietly cashiered Section 8 cases begun by the Bush administration. In stark contrast, King, who has become Holder’s Luca Brasi, has sued Georgia again, this time attacking its voter verification program. As the state attorney general inveighed in response: “Department of Justice has thrown open the door for activist organizations such as ACORN to register non-citizens to vote . . . and the state has no ability to verify an applicant’s citizenship status or whether the individual even exists. . . . Clearly, politics took priority over common sense and good public policy.”
The flight from common sense does not end at greasing the wheels for illegal aliens to vote in upcoming federal elections (and which presidential candidate do you supposed they’ll be voting for?). Throwing overboard the Constitution’s federalist system—the bedrock principle that the states are sovereign, with a fundamental right of self-defense against invasion and lawlessness—Holder’s Department has sued Arizona for attempting to enforce the federal immigration laws. The administration relies on the principle of pre-emption, which bars the states from undermining federal law when there is an overriding national interest. It’s absurd: Arizona’s law strongly bolsters federal law. In this imperial presidency, however, Congress’s laws are irrelevant. Under the Obama pre-emption doctrine, states are barred from undermining Obama administration policy.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Says Obama Tasked Him with Outreach to the Muslim World:
In early July 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Al Jazeera news service that when President Obama appointed him to the job, Bolden was assigned three major tasks: "When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- he [Obama] charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering."
Stimulus Package Is Producing Mostly Public-Sector Jobs:
When the $787 billion stimulus package was signed in 2009, the Obama administration predicted that 90 percent of all the jobs "saved or created" would be in the private sector. A July 2010 report by the Council Of Economic Advisers said that the stimulus had thus far “saved or created” about 3 million jobs, and was moving toward a goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year. But in fact, the number of jobs actually created was 680,000. More than 510,000 of those jobs were in the public sector.
Obama Administration Allows Palestinian Flag to Fly at PLO Office in DC:
On July 25, 2010, JTA News reported:
"The Obama administration will allow the PLO office in Washington to fly the Palestinian flag and assume the title of 'delegation.' The change in status comes with no enhancement in diplomatic status, U.S. officials said.
"The new privileges for the Palestine Liberation Organization office do not mean the representation has 'any diplomatic privileges or immunities,' State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said last Friday. 'At the request of the PLO representative, which we have granted given the improvement in the relations between the United States and Palestinians, they have requested permission to fly the Palestinian flag,' he said. 'And they have requested permission to call themselves the General Delegation of the PLO, which is a name that conforms to how they describe their missions in Europe, Canada, and several Latin American countries.'
"Crowley said the steps have symbolic value and reflect improved relations between the United States and Palestinians, but they have no meaning under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. A White House spokesman suggested the changes would help spur the Palestinians toward direct peace talks with Israel, a key demand of the Israeli and U.S. governments....
"PLO representation in Washington was made illegal under a number of laws in the mid 1980s, when the group was widely regarded as terrorist. Since 1993, at the launch of the Oslo peace process, U.S. presidents have exercised their prerogative to waive the ban every six months."
Obama Hosts Ramadan Meal at White House:
On August 13, 2010, President Obama hosted an iftar -- the special evening meal observed during Ramadan -- in the White House dining room. (He had participated in a similar gathering in 2009.) Obama stated that celebrations like iftar dinners "remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam's role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
At the same event, Obama turned his attention the controversy that had recently arisen over a plan by Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his American Society for Muslim Advancement to build a 13-story, $100 million mosque/Islamic Center near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. Said Obama:
"Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."
When he was asked about the issue the following day while traveling to Florida, Obama said: "I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding." He added that "my intention was simply to let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion."
Marine General Criticizes Plan to Withdraw from Afghanistan:
Shortly after returning from a tour of Afghanistan, General James Conway, the man in charge of the United States Marines, said that President Obama's plan to begin withdrawing troops in the summer of 2011 was giving "sustenance" to the enemy. According to Conway, the task of preparing Afghan forces to take over certain key areas -- specifically Helmand and Kandahar -- would require a few more years. Said Conway:
"In terms of the July '11 issue, you know, I think if you -- if you follow it closely, and of course we all do, we know the president was talking to several audiences at the same time when he made his comments on July 2011. In some ways, we think right now it's probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he may be saying to himself -- in fact we've intercepted communications that say, 'Hey, you know, we only have to hold out for so long.'"
Obama Department of Homeland Security Moves to Dismiss Thousands of Deportation Cases:
The Department of Homeland Security is systematically reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records, according to several sources familiar with the efforts.
Culling the immigration court system dockets of noncriminals started in earnest in Houston about a month ago and has stunned local immigration attorneys, who have reported coming to court anticipating clients' deportations only to learn that the government was dismissing their cases.
Richard Rocha, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said Tuesday that the review is part of the agency's broader, nationwide strategy to prioritize the deportations of illegal immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety. Rocha declined to provide further details.
Critics assailed the plan as another sign that the Obama administration is trying to create a kind of backdoor "amnesty" program.... DHS attorneys are conducting the reviews on a case-by-case basis ... following general guidelines that allow for the dismissal of cases for defendants who have been in the country for two or more years and have no felony convictions. In some instances, defendants can have one misdemeanor conviction, but it cannot involve a DWI, family violence or sexual crime....
ICE officials provided a copy of a new policy memo from [ICE Assistant Secretary John] Morton dated Aug. 20 that instructs government attorneys to review the court cases of people with pending applications to adjust status based on their relation to a U.S. citizen. Morton estimates in the memo that the effort could affect up to 17,000 cases. Tre Rebsock, the ICE union representative in Houston, said even if the efforts involve only a fraction of the pending immigration cases, "that's going to make our officers feel even more powerless to enforce the laws.
"Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ariz., says it is 'an outrage' the Obama administration has stopped building the double-fencing needed to assist the Border Patrol in securing the U.S.-Mexico border and says it is time for the United States to begin fighting illegal immigration and drug smuggling directly at the border instead of within the country where it harms American citizens and communities.
"By the time Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, according to the Justice Department, only 108 miles of the 262-mile-long Arizona portion of the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border had been fenced.
"'We shouldn’t be fighting this battle in the interior. We should be fighting it directly on our international border,' Babeu said in an 'Online With Terry Jeffrey' interview. 'And it’s an outrage that our own federal government stopped building the fence.'
Obama Administration Submits U.S. Human Rights Report to UN Council on Human Rights:
In a reversal of previous U.S. policy, the Obama administration decided to have America join the United Nations' Human Rights Council. Membership in that body requires the United States to submit an annual self-evaluation called the Universal Periodic Review. In late August 2010, the Obama State Department submitted the first of these reports.
"What is annoying about the report ... is its consistent conflation of liberal social policy with human rights. In the left-wing lexicon, it seems that everything that sounds nice is a human right. Partly for this reason, the report reads like campaign literature for the Obama administration. Thus, for example, we have this on the topic of 'Fairness, equality and women':
'As one of President Obama's first official acts, he signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which helps women who face wage discrimination recover their lost wages. Shortly thereafter, the President created the White House Council on Women and Girls to seek to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly and equally in all matters of public policy. Thus, for instance, the Administration supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. Our recent health care reform bill also lowers costs and offers greater choices for women, and ends insurance company discrimination against them.'
"Minorities figure prominently, as you would expect. This is perhaps the report's most questionable passage, but it is also pretty standard-issue political rhetoric that you might hear from some Republicans:
'The United States aspires to foster a society in which, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, the success of our children is determined by the content of their character. We are not satisfied with a situation where the unemployment rate for African Americans is 15.8%, for Hispanics 12.4%, and for whites 8.8%, as it was in February 2010. We are not satisfied that a person with disabilities is only one fourth as likely to be employed as a person without disabilities. We are not satisfied when fewer than half of African-American and Hispanic families own homes while three quarters of white families do. We are not satisfied that whites are twice as likely as Native Americans to have a college degree. The United States continues to address such disparities by working to ensure that equal opportunity is not only guaranteed in law but experienced in fact by all Americans.'
"The report calls it equal opportunity, but what it describes is equality of outcomes. With respect to minorities, as elsewhere, the report rapidly descends into triviality:
'On July 29, 2010, President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act, requiring the Justice Department to disclose data on cases in Indian Country that it declines to prosecute and granting tribes greater authority to prosecute and punish criminals. The Act also expands support for Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribal officers. It includes new provisions to prevent counterfeiting of Indian-produced crafts and new guidelines and training for domestic violence and sex crimes, and it strengthens tribal courts and police departments and enhances programs to combat drug and alcohol abuse and help at-risk youth. These are significant measures that will empower tribal governments and make a difference in people's lives.'
"So 'counterfeiting of Indian-produced crafts' is a human rights issue? If you're a liberal, apparently everything is. The report includes this ludicrous account of the recent economic crisis:
'Following the recent economic crisis, the issue of predatory lending, and particularly discriminatory lending, is an area of enforcement focus. The recession in the United States was fueled largely by a housing crisis, which coincided with some discriminatory lending practices. The subsequent foreclosure crisis has disproportionately affected communities of color, and the federal government has focused resources and efforts to determine whether and where discrimination took place, as well as to ensure greater oversight going forward to prevent similar crises in the future. In this respect President Obama signed major financial reform legislation in 2010 that includes a new consumer protection bureau, among other provisions.'"
"The report — which addresses America's history of slavery, discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and gays — sounds in parts like political campaign literature. For example, in a section about equality for people with disabilities the report states, 'President Obama further demonstrated the nation's commitment to continued vigilance and improvement by announcing new regulations that increase accessibility in a variety of contexts and commit the federal government to hiring more persons with disabilities.'
"The report touts Mr. Obama's new health care and finance reforms, signed into law earlier this year, but also lesser-known pieces of legislation, like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which gives women the right to sue employers if they are paid less than men, as an example of the president's commitment to gender equality.
"The review highlights the president's announced commitment to repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning open gays in the military; and also what the document calls the "historic summit" in November with nearly 400 Native American tribal leaders."
Obama Justice Department Sues Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
In September 2010, the Obama Justice Department sued Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his aggressive policies against illegal immigration. In the greater Phoenix area, Arpaio had established a hotline for the public to report immigration violations. He also had conducted numerous crime and immigration sweeps in heavily Latino neighborhoods, and he frequently raided workplaces in search of people residing in the U.S. illegally. The Justice Department charged that Arpaio had refused for more than a year to turn over records to investigators probing allegations that his department discriminated against Hispanics in unconstitutional searches and seizures, and discriminated against prison inmates with limited English skills.
Arpaio believed that the inquiry was motivated by the Obama administration's opposition to his immigration policies. Arpaio's office said further that it had fully cooperated in the jail inquiry but would not hand over additional documents to investigators examining the alleged unconstitutional searches because federal authorities had not specified what they were looking for.
Thomas Perez led the Justice Department's effort in the lawsuit.
Obama Refuses to Cut Taxes on Top Earners:
On September 8, 2010, the Associated Press reported:
"President Barack Obama strongly defended his opposition to extending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans on Wednesday and delivered a searing attack on Republicans and their House leader for advocating 'the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place.'
"Obama said the struggling U.S. economy can’t afford to spend $700 billion to keep lower tax rates in place for the nation’s highest earners despite a call by House Minority Leader John Boehner and other GOP leaders to do just that.
"Speaking in the same city where Boehner, an Ohio Republican, recently ridiculed Obama’s economic stewardship, Obama said Boehner’s policies amount to no more than 'cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.'
"Obama’s comments came as the administration rolled out new proposals designed to re-ignite a sputtering recovery, including new tax breaks for businesses and $50 billion for U.S. roads, rails and airports.
"'Let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everyone else. We should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer,' the president said. The administration 'is ready this week to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less,' he said.
"Actually, Obama and other Democratic leaders want to extend the [Bush] tax cuts except for individuals making over $200,000 a year – or families earning over $250,000. The sweeping series of Bush tax cuts expires at the end of this year unless Congress renews them."
More Allegations That Justice Department Ignores Civil Rights Cases Involving White Victims:
In September 2010, Christopher Coates, Voting Section Chief for the Department of Justice (DOJ), corroborated the previous testimony of J. Christian Adams, stating that the DOJ had routinely ignored civil rights cases involving white victims. Coates had delayed testifying (to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) on this matter for more than a year – at the request of the DOJ. In September 2010, however, he chose to go public with his story and asked for protection under whistleblower laws. For the full text of Coates' testimony, click here.
Reports That Stimulus Package Sent 89,000 Checks to Dead People and Prisoners:
In October 2010, the Social Security Administration's inspector general reported that the 2009 Stimulus Package, which sent a $250 check to each of about 52 million Social Security recipients and federal retirees, mistakenly sent 72,000 payments (worth a combined $18 million) to people who were dead, and another 17,000 payments (worth $4.3 million) to prison inmates.
Obama Lifts Ban on Deep-Water Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico:
In October 2010, 6 months after the disastrous BP oil spill, the Obama administration lifted its moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- on the condition that oil companies comply with several new rules that critics said could hamper economic recovery along the Gulf Coast.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a lifting of the moratorium after having reviewed the progress of safety reforms, the availability of spill-response resources, and improved blowout containment capabilities. "In light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we must continue to take a cautious approach when it comes to deepwater drilling and remain aggressive in raising the bar for the oil and gas industry's safety and environmental practices," said Salazar. "The oil and gas industry will be operating under tighter rules, stronger oversight, and in a regulatory environment that will remain dynamic as we continue to build on the reforms we have already implemented," he added.
Fox News reported: "The removal of the ban also does not mean that U.S. companies will operate at the pace and levels they did before the accident 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. A de facto moratorium has also been in place on shallow-water drilling, with only four permits for such work approved by the federal government since the explosion, as contrasted with an average of 14 such permits having been approved per month for the 11 months that led up to the explosion. This slow-walking approach to drilling has been blamed for uncertainty in not only the drilling industry but other industries where the current regulatory and recession-era climate has made it difficult to hire or plan for the future."
Obama Misrepresents the History of Social Security
In October 2010, President Obama appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he made this statement: “Look, when Social Security was passed, it applied to widows and orphans. And it was a very restricted program. And over time that structure that was built ended up developing into the most important social safety net that we have in our country. The same is true on every piece of progressive legislation, every bit of progress that we've made.”
But SSA.gov subsequently pointed out the inaccuracies in Obama's statement:
"Although Social Security did not really arrive in America until 1935, there was one important precursor, that offered something we could recognize as a social security program, to one special segment of the American population. Following the Civil War, there were hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans, and hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans. In fact, immediately following the Civil War a much higher proportion of the population was disabled or survivors of deceased breadwinners than at any time in America's history. This led to the development of a generous pension program, with interesting similarities to later developments in Social Security....
"The Civil War Pension [CWP] program began shortly after the start of the War, with the first legislation in 1862 providing for benefits linked to disabilities 'incurred as a direct consequence of . . .military duty.' Widows and orphans could receive pensions equal in amount to that which would have been payable to their deceased solider [sic] if he had been disabled. In 1890 the link with service-connected disability was broken, and any disabled Civil War veteran qualified for benefits. In 1906, old-age was made a sufficient qualification for benefits. So that by 1910, Civil War veterans and their survivors enjoyed a program of disability, survivors and old-age benefits similar in some ways to the later Social Security programs. By 1910, over 90% of the remaining Civil War veterans were receiving benefits under this program, although they constituted barely .6% of the total U.S. population of that era. Civil War pensions were also an asset that attracted young wives to elderly veterans whose pensions they could inherit as the widow of a war veteran. Indeed, there were still surviving widows of Civil War veterans receiving Civil War pensions as late as 1999!"
As NewsBusters.com summarized: “The CWP was a precursor to Social Security, but was not the beginning of the program. Obama also misrepresented this pension plan, for benefits could go to disabled veterans and/or their associated widows and orphans. As such, the President even got the fundamentals of this program wrong.”
Obama Urges Hispanic Voters to “Punish” Their “Enemies”
In a radio interview conducted in late October, just a few days before the November 2010 midterm elections, Obama sought to assure Hispanics that he was committed to an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy. Stressing that such a goal would be much easier to achieve if the Democrats were to retain control of both houses of Congress, he urged Hispanic listeners to flock to the polls:
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”
Referring specifically to Republicans who were calling for border security and were supporting strict immigration laws like Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration measure, Obama said: “Those aren’t the kinds of folks who represent our core American values.”
Obama Administration's Massive Support for the National Council of La Raza:
A Judicial Watch investigation revealed that federal funding for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and its affiliates had skyrocketed since President Obama had hired NCLR's senior vice president, Cecilia Muñoz, to be his director of intergovernmental affairs in 2009. The year Muñoz joined the White House, government funds earmarked for La Raza increased from $4.1 million to $11 million. Fully 60 percent of that money came from the Department of Labor, headed by Hilda Solis, who has close ties to the La Raza movement. Also in 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development gave NCLR $2.5 million for housing counseling, the Department of Education contributed almost $800,000, and the Centers for Disease Control gave approximately $250,000.
Moreover, NCLR affiliates nationwide collected tens of millions of government grant and recovery dollars in 2010. An NCLR offshoot called Chicanos Por La Causa, for example, saw its federal funding nearly double to $18.3 million following Muñoz’ appointment. Ayuda Inc., which provides immigration law services and guarantees confidentiality to assure illegal aliens that they will not be reported to authorities, took in $600,000 in 2009 and $548,000 in 2010 from the Department of Justice. (The group had not received any federal funding between 2005 and 2008.)
Obama Says Republicans Must “Sit in Back” on Economic Issues
While campaigning for Democrats in late October 2010 – shortly before the midterm elections of November – Obama said that Democrats were hard at work trying to pull the U.S. economy out of the proverbial ditch into which Republicans had driven it. Now that Democrats were allegedly making some progress in that endeavor, Obama said: “[W]e can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
Federal Reserve Announces that It Will Monetize $600 Billion Worth of Federal Debt
In early November 2010, just after Election Day, the Federal Reserve announced that it would monetize $600 billion worth of government debt by issuing treasuries slated to mature over the next two-and-a-half to ten years. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke explained the decision in a Washington Post op-ed piece:
“This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action. Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.”
“Unless we demonstrate a strong commitment to fiscal sustainability in the longer term, we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth. Maintaining the confidence of the financial markets requires that we, as a nation, begin planning now for the restoration of fiscal balance.... Either cuts in spending or increases in taxes will be necessary to stabilize the fiscal situation. The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt.”
When speaking to Congress again in February 2010, Bernanke had warned that the United States could soon face a major debt crisis, and he declared that the Federal Reserve would not help legislators by printing money to monetize that debt. A February 25, 2010 Washington Timesreport said:
“Recent events in Europe, where Greece and other nations with large, unsustainable deficits like the United States are having increasing trouble selling their debt to investors, show that the U.S. is vulnerable to a sudden reversal of fortunes that would force taxpayers to pay higher interest rates on the debt, Mr. Bernanke said.
“'It's not something that is 10 years away. It affects the markets currently,' he told the House Financial Services Committee. 'It is possible that bond markets will become worried about the sustainability [of yearly deficits over $1 trillion], and we may find ourselves facing higher interest rates even today.' [...]
“Mr. Bernanke for the first time addressed concerns that the impasse in Congress over tough spending cuts and tax increases needed to bring down deficits will eventually force the Fed to accommodate deficits by printing money and buying Treasury bonds — effectively financing the deficit on behalf of Congress and spurring inflation in the process. Some economists at the International Monetary Fund and elsewhere have advocated this approach, suggesting running moderate inflation rates of 4 percent to 6 percent as a partial solution to the U.S. debt problem. But the move runs the risk of damaging the dollar's reputation and spawning much higher inflation that would be debilitating to the U.S. economy and living standards.
“Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, asked Mr. Bernanke directly whether the Fed would consider such a strategy, especially since IMF officials endorsed it. 'We're not going to monetize the debt,' Mr. Bernanke declared flatly, stressing that Congress needs to start making plans to bring down the deficit to avoid such a dangerous dilemma for the Fed. 'It is very, very important for Congress and administration to come to some kind of program, some kind of plan that will credibly show how the United States government is going to bring itself back to a sustainable position.'”
Obama Criticizes Israeli Settlements:
On November 9, 2010, The New York Timesreported the following story about the increasingly strained relations between the U.S. and Israel:
President Obama’s criticism of new Israeli housing plans for East Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s even sharper retort, have thrown the Middle East peace talks into jeopardy, with the dispute over Jewish settlements looming as a seemingly insuperable hurdle.
The Obama administration is struggling to restart direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, which stalled last month after the expiration of a partial freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to meet Mr. Netanyahu in New York on Thursday, while Egypt sent two top officials to Washington to discuss ways to salvage the process.
But the brusque exchange between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu reflected again the gulf between Israel and the United States over settlements — an issue Mr. Obama initially made the centerpiece of his Middle East diplomacy. Palestinian officials said Israel’s latest announcement threatened the talks and could prompt a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
When asked in about Israel’s plans for 1,000 housing units for a contested part of East Jerusalem, Mr. Obama said, “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.”
“I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough,” the president added during his visit to Indonesia. “Each of these incremental steps can end up breaking trust.”
A few hours later, Mr. Netanyahu’s office responded with a statement, saying that “Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.”
The United States and Israel have well-known differences over Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in the statement, adding that building plans should have no effect on the peace talks.
Despite their efforts to build mutual trust, Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu seem to keep talking past each other. On Tuesday, they were worlds apart in symbolism as well as substance: the president voiced his criticism of Israel while on a visit to Jakarta, capital of the world’s most populous Muslim country.
Mr. Netanyahu was in New York, meeting business people, midway through a visit to the United States that included a speech to a Jewish group in New Orleans on Monday, in which he called on Washington to be more aggressive in threatening Iran with a military strike if it did not give up its nuclear program....
“If the international community, led by the United States, hopes to stop Iran’s nuclear program without resorting to military action,” he declared, “it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action.” ...
Obama Criticizes China:
In November 2010, The New York Timesreported the following about comments which Obama made regarding America's trade relations with China:
“The Group of 20 major economies took initial steps to address imbalances in the global economy on Friday. But they did not act as assertively as President Obama had hoped, and he left little doubt that he considered one country, China, the primary source of the problem.
“Scrapping a longtime practice of speaking with diplomatic caution about China’s currency policy, Mr. Obama accused Beijing of intervening aggressively to keep its currency, the renminbi, below its market value to promote exports. He said it was a mistake for nations to think that 'their path to prosperity is paved simply with exports to the United States.'
“'Precisely because of China’s success, it’s very important that it act in a responsible fashion internationally,' Mr. Obama said at a news conference at the conclusion of the economic summit meeting here. 'And the issue of the renminbi is one that is an irritant not just to the United States, but is an irritant to a lot of China’s trading partners and those who are competing with China to sell goods around the world.'
“Though his own Treasury Department, like those of prior administrations, has certified that China is not a 'currency manipulator,' a designation that can prompt Congressional trade action, Mr. Obama appeared to remove the remaining wiggle room he had on the subject of the renminbi, declaring: 'It is undervalued. And China spends enormous amounts of money intervening in the market to keep it undervalued.'
“The tougher language seems likely to add tension with China, which has already sharply criticized the Obama administration’s decision to try to mediate territorial disputes involving China and its East and Southeast Asian neighbors.”
Obama Supports The DREAM Act
In November 2010, President Obama spoke out in favor of the DREAM Act, a proposed law that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal-alien high-school graduates in the U.S. The President told Democratic members of Congress that he wanted the bill passed as a “down payment” on more substantial immigration reform. “This legislation … would give young people who were brought as minors to the United States by their parents the opportunity to earn their citizenship by pursuing a college degree or through military service,” the White House said in a statement.
Obama Announces NATO Plan for Missile Defense:
In November 2010, President Obama announced that NATO had agreed to his plans for a new, expanded missile-defense system for Europe that would cover all NATO member countries and the United States. According to Obama, the missile shield – expected to cost $273 million over the next decade – “offers a role for all of our allies, it responds to the threats of our times. It shows our determination to protect our citizens from the threat of ballistic missiles.” He did not mention Iran by name as a nation whose potential aggression had made the deployment of this missile-defense system necessary, because NATO member Turkey had threatened to block the deal if Iran were to be singled out. According to a Newsmax.com report:
“Under the arrangement, a limited system of U.S. anti-missile interceptors and radars already planned for Europe — to include interceptors in Romania and Poland and possibly a radar in Turkey — would be linked to expanded European-owned missile defenses. That would create a broad system that protects every NATO country against medium-range missile attack. NATO plans to invite Russia to join the missile shield effort, although Moscow would not be given joint control.”
Obama Urges Senate to Ratify START II Nuclear Reduction Treaty:
In November 2010, Obama pushed for the Senate to ratify the START II ( Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord which the President had signed with Russia in April of that year. Author and political analyst David Limbaugh observed:
“As critics of the treaty have noted, [START II] would place severe restrictions on U.S. missile defense, and its verification measures are wholly inadequate. It would leave Russia with a decided advantage in tactical nuclear weapons with nothing accruing to our benefit in return, and it ultimately seeks to disarm the United States at a time when rogue nations and terrorists are getting ever closer to acquiring nuclear capabilities, not to mention the dangerous regimes that already possess them. In addition, Obama's meaningless promise to add $4 billion more toward our nuclear arsenal [which he proposed as an incentive to persuade reluctant senators to support the treaty] is not only unenforceable; it would come at the expense of other important defense expenditures.
“This is all about Obama's effort to take America down to size and to show the rest of the world that we are no longer the big bad evil aggressor we were before he took office. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs let the cat out of the bag when he admitted that passing this treaty is crucial to international relations.
“Obama is already on record lamenting that we are still a military superpower, is Mirandizing terrorists on the battlefield, has changed the war on terror to 'overseas contingency operations,' refuses to consider Islamic radicalism to be the driving force behind many acts of domestic terrorism, and is insisting on trying terrorists in civilian courts (already with disastrous results).”
The Washington Times offered this perspective on START II:
“The treaty's warhead limit is a case in point. America will reduce its warhead stockpile, but the Obama administration has also unilaterally pledged not to modernize the U.S. nuclear force. This concession opens the possibility for Russia to achieve the kind of strategic technological surprise the Soviet Union did in the 1970s. The SALT I framework did not limit multiple warheads (MIRVs), in part because the United States felt it had an advantage in that technology. But the Soviet Union surprised America by swiftly developing superior MIRV capabilities in the 1970s, and within five years, the treaty had become a strategic liability enshrining Moscow's nuclear superiority.
“Under the new treaty, the United States and Russia agree to limits in numbers of warheads, but only the United States has promised to freeze its technology. This is an open invitation to Russia to modernize its way to nuclear dominance.”
"The Russians claim that New START prevents the United States from beefing up protections against missile attacks. That means possible strikes not only by Russia but by the likes of North Korea, Iran, and — if we look into our crystal ball — a Pakistan whose government could fall into jihadist hands, or even, say, an Egypt or Saudi Arabia that goes both jihadist (due to internal revolt) and nuclear (due to Western fecklessness in responding to Iran). And that is to say nothing of nukes, including stray Russian nukes, that could fall into the anxious hands of al-Qaeda or other terror networks.
"In support of its interpretation, Russia points to language in the treaty’s preamble. That’s not all: There is much circumstantial corroboration for the Putin/Medvedev position. To avoid upsetting the Russians, the Obama administration has reneged on the U.S. commitment to deploy missile-defense components in Poland and the Czech Republic. It has explicitly limited missile defense in a critical 2010 report in order to avoid disturbing the 'strategic balance' with Russia and China (apparently, the administration believes our security somehow hinges on maintaining current threat levels rather than altering them in our favor). And administration officials have refused to disclose the negotiation record for New START, which would allow senators to judge for themselves what makes the Russians think the treaty means what it certainly appears to say....
"In the Washington Times, Bill Gertz reports that, in an effort to quell concerns over his handiwork, President Obama wrote Senate leaders over the weekend, assuring them that the Russians are wrong. He is committed, the president promises, to robust missile defense and, in particular, to upgrades in the capacity of the U.S. and our allies to fend off potential strikes by Iran.
"The guys who need to know that, and to sign off on it, are not John McCain and Richard Lugar. They are Valdimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. And the signing off needs to be done in a formal treaty. The Republicans’ choice is an easy one here: Block New START and tell President Obama to get back to them when he has in hand a formal treaty that is consistent with his letter."
In December 2010, former UN ambassador John Bolton said that the START II treaty "hurts the United States," "pulls back from our nuclear capabilities," and "undoubtedly will constrain our national missile defense."
Obama Administration Tries Its First Guantanamo Bay Detainee in Civilian Court:
In November 2010, al Qaeda terrorist and mass-murderer Ahmed Ghailani -- the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in an American civilian court -- was acquitted on all but one of the charges against him. Columnist Linda Chavez offered this overview of the case:
“Not since the infamous acquittal of O.J. Simpson has the American jury system so utterly failed as it did this week in acquitting on all but one charge former Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Ghailani, an al-Qaida terrorist responsible for the deaths of 224 people. A New York City jury managed to convict Ghailani on only one charge -- conspiracy to destroy U.S. government property -- in the attack on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
“But the failure is not just that of one criminal jury but of the Obama administration, which decided to try enemy combatants in American criminal courts. Instead of admitting their serious error in judgment, administration officials said they were 'pleased' with the outcome because Ghailani would serve a minimum of 20 years in prison for his crimes. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, a Clinton-appointed federal judge who presided over the case, was even more reprehensible in his remarks after the trial. Kaplan complimented the jury on its verdict, suggesting that 'American justice can be rendered calmly, deliberately and fairly by ordinary people, people who are not beholden to any government, not even ours.'
“The jury heard hard evidence that Ghailani purchased the truck used in the bombing in Tanzania; obtained some of the oxygen and acetylene gas tanks used in the bombing; stored the electronic detonators used in the attack, one of which the FBI recovered in Ghailani's house along with TNT traces; and gave the actual suicide bomber the cell phone used in plotting the attack. The jury did not hear evidence from a witness who sold Ghailani the TNT used in the attack because the judge barred it, claiming that Ghailani led federal prosecutors to the witness only after Ghailani was subject to coercive interrogation methods at Guantanamo. But even without this direct testimony, there was more than enough evidence to convict on the more serious charges....
“Ghailani was not guilty of criminal acts but acts of war. He was a soldier in a vast network that has declared war on the United States. He was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and transferred to Guantanamo in 2006. The courts have decided that enemy combatants such as Ghailani cannot be held indefinitely without facing charges. But it was the Obama administration's appalling choice that those charges be brought not in a military but in a civilian criminal court. And one of the reasons they pushed ahead with Ghailani's trial under this new policy was that they viewed it as a slam-dunk for conviction on most, if not all, charges.
“Critics have warned from the beginning that this was sheer folly. Jury nullification is a fact of life in U.S. courtrooms today. Juries, especially those comprised of jurors with axes to grind, ignore evidence when they feel like it. And what more likely place to encounter jury nullification than in a case involving highly charged issues such as the war on terror, detention at Guantanamo Bay, and coercive interrogation?
“The only good that might come of this travesty of justice for the 224 who died in Tanzania, including a dozen Americans, is that the Obama administration will now have to rethink its disastrous policy. Enemy soldiers who commit crimes against the United States should be tried in military courts. Maybe now Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama will come to their senses.”
Obama Mis-Identifies the Official Motto of the United States:
While speaking at the University of Indonesia in November 2010, Obama incorrectly identified “E pluribus unum” as the official motto of the United States; the country’s actual motto (established by law in 1956) is “In God We Trust.” The verbal gaffe occurred as the President was trying to spell out some similarities between the U.S. and Indonesia.
According to the Washington Times, members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus noted that President Obama had displayed “a pattern” of dropping references to God in his public addresses, previously omitting references to the “Creator” when reciting mankind's “endowed” rights as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.
Obama Agrees to Extend Bush-Era Tax Cuts for All Americans
In early December 2010, President Obama announced that he had arrived at an agreement with Republicans to extend, for two additional years, the expiring Bush-era tax cuts (which were slated to expire on January 1, 2011) for all Americans. The deal, which violated Obama's campaign pledge to raise taxes on high earners, sparked bitter opposition from many congressional Democrats and from the political Left generally. Obama acknowledged that the accord contained elements that he personally opposed – most notably an extension of tax cuts at upper income levels – but he maintained that it was important to avoid a stalemate that would have resulted in higher income taxes at all income levels beginning on January 1, 2011. In exchange for the President's signature on the tax bill, Republicans in Congress agreed to accept Obama's call for a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance.
In the immediate aftermath of the tax deal, Obama held a press conference at the White House to defend his action. Angry at Republican lawmakers for insisting that the highest earners be included among the beneficiaries of the tax-rate extension, Obama cast himself as a man who had been forced to accept some unsavory terms by Republican extremists. “It’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed,” Obama said. “In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed.” Added the President: “This isn’t the politics of the moment. This has to do with, ‘What can we get done right now?’ We can’t get my preferred option [to raise taxes on the highest earners] through the Senate right now.”
Obama Signs Bill Setting Aside Another $1.15 Billion to Pay Discrimination Compensation to Tens of Thousands of Black Farmers:
In early December 2010, President Obama signed the Claims Settlement Act of 2010, which awarded $1.15 billion to African American farmers to settle claims that the U.S. Agriculture Department had discriminated against them.
In 1999, the federal government paid out about $1 billion to 15,640 black farmers who claimed USDA had discriminated against them be refusing to provide them with federally subsidized farm loans in the years 1981-1996. The compensation was the result of a settlement in a class action lawsuit known as the Pigford case.
The new ... settlement now funded by Congress and signed into law by Obama will go to pay up to an additional 94,000 African Americans who farmed or "attempted" to farm in that same 1981-1996 time frame. But according to the Census Bureau, the number of black farmers in America between 1981 and 1996 peaked at 33,000 in 1982.
Some members of Congress have called for an investigation of potential fraud in the government’s previous payout to the black farmers, and they have expressed doubt that this second settlement is any more legitimate. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said the Pigford settlement program is compromised by fraud and has morphed into a “modern-day slavery reparations programs.”
At [the] bill signing, President Obama took credit for setting in motion the Pigford II case.
As a senator, he secured $100 million for a second round of payments to African American farmers who missed the filing deadline in the first Pigford case. Combined with the $1.15 billion recently approved by Congress, the total Pigford II settlement was $1.25 billion.
“In 1999, a process was established to settle these claims. But the settlement was implemented poorly, and tens of thousands of African American families who filed paperwork after the deadline were denied their chance to make their case,” Obama said before signing the bill late Wednesday afternoon. “And that’s why, as senator, I introduced legislation to provide these farmers the right to have their claims heard. That’s why I’m proud that Democrats and Republicans have come together to lay this case to rest.”
The first Pigford case alleged that USDA employees discriminated against African American farmers between 1981 and 1996. As a result of the Clinton-era settlement (Pigford I), the U.S. government paid $1 billion to 15,640 of them.
Pigford II refers to a second round of discrimination claims made since 1999. It is the second settlement made with black farmers, and it involves only black farmers who missed the first deadline....
Rep. [Steve] King [R-Iowa] believes the USDA’s denial of wrongdoing and inaction in firing anyone for discrimination speaks to the weakness of the case. “Who did they punish?” King asked, referring to the USDA. “At this point...no one. It’s completely outrageous," he told CNSNews.com. "They [the USDA] admit to no wrong doing; they press the taxpayers and apparently have succeeded in squeezing $2.3 billion out of the taxpayers; but they don’t have any blame and they’re not punishing anybody. So, how can Americans who think logically accept that as a rational position. It’s baffling to me that just that alone isn’t enough to get people up in arms.”
While members of Congress and attorneys for the plaintiffs have said there could be as many as 94,000 potential claimants for the $1.25 billion Pigford II settlement, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that from 1981 to 1996, the number of African American farmers peaked at 33,000.
One plaintiffs' attorney, David J. Frantz, told CNSNews.com the 94,000 number will be narrowed down significantly when the payouts are made. He added that some payments will be made to people who wanted to farm but say they were prevented when the USDA denied them loans for discriminatory reasons....
“Here in America, we believe that all of us are equal and that each of us deserves the chance to pursue our own version of happiness,” Obama said. “It’s what led us to become a nation. It’s at the heart of who we are as a people, and our history is defined by the struggle to fulfill this ideal, to build a more perfect union, to ensure that all of us, regardless of our race or religion, our color or our creed, are afforded the same rights as Americans, and the fair and equal treatment under the law.
“I think all of us understand that we haven’t always lived up to those ideals,” Obama said. “When we’ve fallen short, it’s been up to ordinary citizens to stand up to inequality and unfairness wherever they find it. That’s how we’ve made progress. That’s how we’ve moved forward. And that’s why we are here today -- to sign a bill into law that closes a long and unfortunate chapter in our history.”
The Pigford II legislation signed by Obama ... also includes $3.4 billion to settle a 14-year lawsuit alleging mismanagement of tribal trust funds by the U.S. Interior Department. Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff, claimed [that] Interior failed to account for tens of billions of dollars that it was supposed to collect on behalf of 300,000 Native Americans.
Although the Native American case has received less attention recently than the black farmers’ settlement, it made headline in 1999 when U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth found Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in contempt of court when the Clinton administration failed to produce court-ordered documents.
“Elouise’s argument was simple: The government, as a trustee of Indian funds, should be able to account for how it handles that money,” Obama said. “And now, after 14 years of litigation, it’s finally time to address the way that Native Americans were treated by their government. It’s finally time to make things right.”
The Obama Administration's Sweetheart Deal with GM and the United Auto Workers Union:
On December 10, 2010, Gary Jason contributed this important piece on the corrupt manner in which the Obama Administration had dealt with General Motors:
Several recent revelations bring home just what a cesspool of crony capitalism the American auto industry has become. The Obama administration and the UAW (Obama's major financial and political supporter) are running the show.
First is the news that the "new" GM walked away from the crony bankruptcy proceedings with a huge tax break -- one worth up to $45 billion. It was revealed in the paperwork filed for its IPO that the Obama administration gave the new GM a sweetheart deal: it will be allowed to carry forward huge losses incurred by the "old" GM prior to its bankruptcy. Of course, the IRS doesn't allow the new companies that emerge from bankruptcy to write off their old losses. But the feds decided to waive that rule for companies bailed out by TARP.
Thus, the new GM will save about $45.4 billion in taxes on future earnings, which may allow it to escape taxes for the next twenty years. This "tax-loss carry-forward" is a huge plum, an asset most of GM's rivals don't have, and one that no doubt led to its artificially high IPO stock price.
This brings up the second revelation: namely, the machinations by the Obama administration during the IPO that consciously helped the UAW make out like bandits.
The UAW was given a big chunk of new GM in the crooked bankruptcy settlement. To be precise, the very monster that drove GM off the cliff -- the UAW -- received 35% of the stock in the new company. With the sale of the stock in the new GM, the UAW earned an immediate $3.4 billion in selling about one third of its shares.
Moreover, if the UAW can get $36 per share for the other two-thirds of its shares, it will walk away breaking even -- meaning it will walk away with its outrageously bloated pension and health care fund fully intact. The taxpayer, on the other hand, hasn't fared well at all.
In fact, the Obama administration screwed the taxpayer just as thoroughly as it pampered the UAW. The taxpayer put $49.5 billion into GM in the bankruptcy, not to mention all the funds shoveled at the company prior to that. The Treasury recouped only a wretched $13.7 billion in the IPO, mainly because the Obama administration -- in yet another unprecedented gift to the union -- announced publicly that it would not sell any more stock for the next six months. This enables the UAW to dump its shares whenever it wants at a much higher price than it could get if the Treasury were also selling. The taxpayers will almost certainly get a lower payout, and they will never recoup their forced investment in these dinosaurs -- all to enable the UAW to walk away made whole.
Screwed even worse were the old secured creditors -- you know, the ones near the front of the line in bankruptcy filings way back when America was governed by the rule of law. The bondholders in the old GM have bonds as useful as scratch paper. (I won't mention the stockholders in the old GM, because stockholders -- who are only the legal owners of a company! -- typically got nothing in bankruptcy.)
The Obama administration car czar, who engineered the crony bankruptcy -- the aptly named Steve Rattner -- claims that the secured creditors would have received nothing in a standard bankruptcy anyway. But his claim is ludicrous on its face: in a regular bankruptcy, the union contracts that caused GM's and Chrysler's failure would have been nullified, and the substantial assets of the companies (plants, inventory, receivables, land, patents, etc.) would have been worth a substantial amount to other automakers and investment companies. The proceeds would have gone to satisfy the bondholders at least to a fair degree.
The third recent revelation about the U.S. automakers was the news that the Obama administration changed the purchasing of vehicles for the federal fleet dramatically; again, apparently to benefit its supporters.
It turns out that the administration itself has purchased a huge, unprecedented chunk of American-made hybrid cars assembled since it took over two of the loser companies. This has propped up the sales of hybrid cars in the face of widespread consumer indifference.
The U.S. General Services Administration (which handles the federal fleet of cars) bought nearly 15,000 hybrid cars over the last two years, or about 10% of the government cars purchased. This compares to only 1% of the fleet being hybrids just two years ago. Even more striking, more than 20% of the hybrids the GSA purchased were bought using "stimulus money" (yes, the GSA got "stimulus money" -- $300 million in total!).
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that of the 15,000 hybrids that the GSA bought, only 22 were from Toyota and Honda. All the rest were purchased from GM and Ford. (Chrysler stopped making hybrids back in 2008 after a brief attempt.) The GSA in total bought nearly 25% of all the American-produced hybrids made over the last two years.
Why is that? We can dismiss the idea that it was because the Obama administration judges the Japanese hybrids inferior; the Japanese are widely viewed as having the lead in that technology, and they produced hybrids before Detroit did. No, it is doubtless because the UAW controls Ford and GM, and the UAW was (and is) a huge contributor to the Democratic Party, and the Obama campaign in particular. After all, consumers are not sold on hybrids -- globally, hybrids account for only about 2% of all auto sales. But the Obama administration -- to pay off its union and environmentalist big money donors -- is buying thousands of hybrids from the American auto makers.
So there you have it. The Obama administration rigged the bankruptcy to favor the union, rigged the IPO to favor the union, and has purchased much of the inventory unsalable in the free market, again to benefit the union (and the environmentalists). But of course, the unions (and the environmentalists) pumped many millions of dollars into Obama's campaign. They also and pumped many millions into trying to keep Democratic candidates in office in the last election.
This is corrupt, crony car capitalism, all paid for by coerced taxation, from an administration that promised a new era of transparency and honesty in government. But at the end of the day, the cabal at the top behaves just like the dirty Chicago machine that spawned it.
Obama Announces Support for UN Resolution Stating 'Indigenous Peoples Have the Right to the Lands ... They Have Traditionally Owned, Occupied or Otherwise Used or Acquired':
On December 21, 2010, CNS News reported the following:
"President Barack Obama, addressing a tribal nations conference at the White House last week, announded that the U.S. government is now supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which includes a sweeping declaration that 'indigenous peoples' have a right to lands and resources they traditionally occupied or 'otherwise used.'
"'Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,' says the U.N. resolution.
"The Bush administration had declined to support the resolution.
"At the White House Tribal Nations Conference, Obama reminded the group that last year he signed a resolution passed by Congress that 'finally' recognizes 'the sad and painful chapters in our shared history--a history too often marred by broken promises and grave injustices against the First Americans,' he said.
"The president added that 'no statement can undo the damage that was done,' but he said the resolution can 'help reaffirm the principles that should guide our future.' 'It’s only by heeding the lessons of our history that we can move forward,' Obama said.
"In his remarks, Obama also recalled his trip to a Montana Indian reservation during his presidential campaign where he said he was honored with a new name. 'I remember, more than two years ago, in Montana, I visited the Crow Nation -- one of the many times I met with tribal leaders on the campaign trail,' Obama said. 'You may know that on that trip, I became an adopted Crow Indian. My Crow name is One Who Helps People Throughout the Land,' Obama said....
"The president told the Native Americans the U.S. will now support the U.N Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a resolution the U.N. General Assembly adopted in 2007 but the Bush administration rejected because of language it described as vague and open to interpretation.
"The U.N. declaration begins by affirming a view of equal rights that seems consistent with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, namely that 'indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples' and 'should be free from discrimination of any kind.' But then it goes beyond that.
"The declaration expresses concern that indigenous peoples have 'suffered from historic injustices' as a result of colonization and 'dispossession of their lands, territories and resources,' and recognizes 'the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights' of indigenous peoples -- 'especially their right to their lands, territories and resources.'
"The U.S. State Department, in a Dec. 16 posting on its Web site, explained the Obama administration’s decision to support the U.N. resolution, saying it 'resulted from a comprehensive, interagency policy review, including extensive consultation with tribes.' The State Department noted that the U.N. declaration is not legally binding, but it 'carries considerable moral and political force and complements the president’s ongoing efforts to address historical inequities faced by indigenous communities in the United States.'
"Brent Schaefer, an analyst with the Heritage Foundation, told CNSNews.com that although the U.N. declaration now supported by the Obama administration is non-binding, it represents a 'significant policy shift' from the Bush administration. Schaefer also said that before crafting legally binding international treaties, the U.N. usually starts the process with a non-binding resolution -- a fact that will put the U.S. in a more difficult position if it objects to similar language in a formal treaty. 'It puts our negotiators in a weaker position going forward,' Schaefer said.
"The Bush administration voted against the resolution in 2007, noting that under U.S. law, Indian tribes already are recognized as self-governing political entities. The Bush administration said many of the issues covered by the U.N. declaration already are covered by U.S. law, including self-determination, lands, resources and redress for past mistreatment.
"The U.N. declaration includes 46 articles, many of which dictate how nations should deal with their indigenous peoples.
"Article 26 reads in part, 'Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,' and it says nations 'shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources.'
"The Bush administration called Article 26 'particularly unworkable,' because it 'appears to require recognition of indigenous rights to lands without regard to other legal rights existing in land.' The text 'could be misread to confer upon a sub-national group a power of veto over the laws of a democratic legislature,' the Bush administration warned. 'We strongly support the full participation of indigenous peoples in democratic decision-making processes, but cannot accept the notion of a sub-national group having a veto.'
"Article 21 reads in part, 'States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their (indigenous people’s) economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.'
"Article 16 directs nations to 'take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States…should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.'"